Of Chicken Hats and Satellites

I admit it – I have a chicken hat.  I’ve not had it long so I haven’t worn it much (yet!). There is a connection to my chicken hat and Satcom.

I got my chicken hat because I am a volunteer at the FIRST Robotics Championship that took place last weekend in St. Louis. MO.  I served as the Pit Announcer, letting the teams know about logistical information, spare parts requests and even signing the teams out of the Pit at night (the Pit is where the teams work on their robots before and after competitive matches).  First of all (bad pun), you have to go to www.usfirst.org and check out the amazing world of robotics competitions.  Dean Kamen founded FIRST Robotics 20 years ago – FIRST stands for: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, and the annual robotics competition draws hundreds of teams from around the world.  Teams that attend have won a regional competition or another award.  Call it the “brain-i-ac” Olympics where teams help each other before they compete against each other (called Co-Operation) and the winners are an alliance of three teams where ‘gracious professionalism, safety and fun’ are the ruling mantras.  You’ve never seen anything like a FIRST Robotics competition, I promise, and I urge you to get your kids involved.  Not so coincidentally, GlobaFone sponsors Team 131 CHAOS from Central High School in Manchester, NH.  So back to my chicken hat….

Team 3932, the Cockadoodle Dominators from Chickasha, OK gave me one of their special chicken hats.  You can see a story about the team here.

Okay, FIRST Robotics is really cool and I have a chicken hat.  So how is this related to Satcom?  Simple.

Satellites are small tin cans, or big tin cans flying around the planet making communications available where there is no terrestrial infrastructure.  That is amazing.  FIRST Robotics is amazing.  But that is not the point.  One must wonder, which parts of the Satcom infrastructure and ecosystem were born of a ‘what if?’ moment by a brilliant mind, such that you find within the FIRST teams?  FIRST alumni go on to do all kinds of great work and Satcom systems are the brainchildren of such lofty thinking.  In addition, some of the major FIRST Robotics sponsors include Boeing, BAE systems, NASA, SAIC, Intel, the Air Force and other high tech leaders.  Is there a connection?  You bet!  These organizations understand that these kids – FIRST Robotics alumni – are the among the pioneers of the technology of the future.  While their organizations will benefit from having FIRST Alumni as employees, we all benefit from those types of relationships.  I have no specific way to know, but I would argue that developments in Satcom are a result of the brain-i-ac genre –  ‘What If?’, or as I call it “let’s find out’ thinking.

So all hail FIRST Robotics, Chicken Hats and Satcom.  All three are amazing and speak to the ingenuity of innovative thinking.